Blockchain Use Case – Transportation Logistics

Anup MarwadiBlockChainLeave a Comment

At HyperTrends, we have been exploring Blockchain opportunities for quite a while. Our CEO, Anup Marwadi was a founding CTO of a Trucking Compliance startup BluAgent a few years ago. It is through that startup that he wished to apply the power of Blockchain to build unique solutions for the transportation industry.

When that startup didn't pan out as expected, Anup started investigating other areas where Blockchain could be used.

Logistics is as concrete as it can get when it comes to practical Blockchain applications.

In this post, we address why the Logistics industry is ripe for disruption, and through examples, how many companies are already seeing the benefits.

Transportation

The Transportation industry can benefit the most from Blockchain. Supply chain logistics are a complicated matter. With the staggering number of intermediaries in any supply-chain process, enabling trust is a critical aspect.

Here’s an example of IBM’s study with Maersk on the overheads involved with the shipment of flowers. As evident, shipping/transportation logistics involve a LOT of parties and any inconsistencies in or loss of paperwork could directly result in tremendous delays (a big problem for perishable goods, as flowers or vegetables).

We happen to think that the Transportation industry is ripe of disruption with added transparency and a global trust mechanism.

Here are some classic use cases:

  • Let’s say I’m transferring HAZMAT across state or country boundary lines. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to track this information as each checkpoint was passed? Maintaining these records in a way that is accessible to any of the involved parties, or regulatory bodies would really eliminate overheads and reduce costs.
  • What if I was transferring expensive electronic goods? Tracing expensive electronic goods across roadways is a huge problem and large distributors are already working on Blockchain and real-time IoT solutions to prevent stolen cargo and end-to-end traceability.
  • Perishable Cargo? Ethically Sourced Cargo? All of this could benefit with the Blockchain technology.

Through it’s immutable (unchangeable) distributed ledger technology, one can ensure that record forging and manipulation is almost impossible. Allowed parties can easily trace the blockchain for information.

What’s unique about this concept is that companies no longer have to worry about paperwork. The information is globally accessible on the blockchain and only the right parties have access rights to view and/or modify this information.

Who’s Playing?

At this point it would be fair to ask, “Who’s playing?”. A better question would be, “Who’s not playing?”

Almost all the big players in the Logistics industry are investing in Blockchain research and implementation.

A few names that should convince you:

  • Walmart – Walmart is heavily investing in a Blockchain based delivery system to track food supplies from China. Walmart has already partnered with IBM previously to detect and remove recalled foods.
  • Samsung – Samsung is also investing in the Blockchain for electronic goods supply chains and is targeting cutting down shipping costs by up to 20%.
  • Unilever, Nestle, Dole are all using the Blockchain technology for tracking food supplies.

Large companies aside, a few startups have entered into this space and are really shaping the future of this industry.

A local startup ShipChain is also taking a stab at building an end-to-end supply-chain tracking system and has had quite a successful ICO.

We would love to present some solutions in this space over the next few posts.

In the spirit of open-source, we will be hosting many of our contracts on GitHub for review as well.

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